Thursday, January 23, 2020

My dream did not come true in HOU: Pre-race

The long version part 1 (the short version is here):
Race morning
The road to Houston was rocky, literally and figuratively.  At many times I felt like running another marathon was dumb, although I did all of the training for it.  About 10 days before the race, my daughter had the stomach flu and I figured I was a goner, but even with her in my bed I never got sick!  We planned to leave for Houston early Friday morning, but ended up leaving around 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, after my daughter's first band concert, to drive a few hours south to avoid the ice storm that was predicted to come through overnight.  Friday I woke up with a slight sore throat but figured it was just from sleeping in a somewhat cold environment and didn't give it a second thought.
My ride to Houston consisted of fiction,
podcasts, snacks, & compression
It was pouring rain Friday morning, so I did my shake out run mid-day somewhere random in Texas while my dad and husband ate lunch.  We arrived in Houston before dark on Friday, and I was feeling tired, but I chalked it up to sitting and sleeping more than usual.  Saturday I woke up with my throat more sore and feeling weak, and I again figured cold air made my throat sore and that I was just sluggish from being less active than normal, but I bought some cold medicine, zinc, and elderberry just in case.  I did the OTQ group run on Saturday morning, and felt kind of off - but I often feel off when tapering so still wasn't worried.  We then went to the race expo and checked into our hotel.  I took a short nap after lunch and when I got up from laying down I heard myself wheeze.  I took some deep breaths to double check, and then tearfully told my husband, "I'm wheezing, it's over."
This is how you get in the ADP corral!
After a little break down, I tried to be optimistic.  The power of the mind is huge, so I decided I was going to will myself well.  I decided I was going to wake up feeling perfectly fine on Sunday.  I decided that I was in good enough shape to run 2:45 sick.  I decided that the vitamins I had would cure me.  I decided I was still doing to do it.

Spoiler:  all of that deciding didn't work.
Not enough
I woke up Sunday morning more sick:  wheezing, weakness, sore throat.  I get bronchitis once or twice every year, and I have since I was a kid (I think it's related to having asthma as a kid).  It's pretty much the only illness I ever get!  So I knew what I had, but I didn't want to admit it - and, to be fair, I ran a decent half with bronchitis is May, so thought there was still a chance.

Since it really was the bottom of the 9th - the last day to qualify for the 2020 Trials - and since we were already in Houston, I figured there was nothing to do but go for it.  I didn't think I needed another marathon finish, or another 2:46-2:59.  In my mind, the options were 2:45:00 or DNF.  I told my dad and husband that I was going to go out with the 2:45 pace group, and if I was too sick to stay with them I would just drop out.  They were tracking me, and the race had timing mats every 5K, so they would know my status.

We walked to the ADP corral and I just didn't think about anything.  I didn't feel any pressure; I knew I was trained to run 6:15 pace for 26.2, I knew my body wasn't 100%, I knew I was going to give it my all on the day.  I also knew that it would be okay either way, and I didn't feel like I had anything to lose by trying, even if it seems dumb in retrospect (my lung function is terrible - sure, let's try for a marathon PR!).
My husband thought my throw away warm ups
were the greatest
ADP warm-up area
The story continues here.

My post about the last-minute OTQ chasers is here.
See the pre-race mention of the 2:45 pace group in the Fast Women Newsletter here.
Read the Runners World article about the 2:45 pace group here.


  1. That's the worst when you know you are sick, but it's too late to do anything about it!

    1. I have never been able to cut off bronchitis once it starts - anything else I barely get and can get over quickly, but I get bronchitis bad. I think it's because I had asthma as a kid and am just super vulnerable to it. Anyway, I pretty much knew their was no hope but I tried to lie to myself about it anyway!

    2. Yeah, bronchitis is pretty much a game ender. Also that you were already there and everything. It's so hard to decide not to run a race and even worse when you've already traveled and taken time off work!